City Desk

The Needle: Independence Edition

Yes We Can (Continue The War On Drugs): Advocates of D.C.'s new medical marijuana law were relieved to find the zealous new House Republican majority didn't try to block it while writing the next fiscal year's budget this spring. Turns out they were worried about the wrong end of Pennsylvania Avenue. The Department of Justice notified the Drug Enforcement Administration this week that anyone "cultivating, selling, or distributing marijuana, and those who knowingly facilitate such activities, are in violation of the Controlled Substances Act," and that local laws legalizing or decriminalizing weed don't matter. Maybe that's why the District hasn't granted any licenses to sell medical pot yet: Is Mayor Vince Gray worried President Barack Obama will send the narcs after him if he "knowingly facilitates" the distribution centers' activities? -2

Bike to the Fireworks: Taking Capital Bikeshare out to big events can sometimes be a problem; once the available racks in the area fill up, there's nowhere to leave the burly red bike, unless you've hauled your own lock and key along with you (in which case, why not just bring your own bike?). DDOT seems to have realized that—they'll set up "bike corrals" by the Mall on Monday evening so people can leave their Bikeshare rides while watching pyrotechnics, guaranteeing a place to park for anyone who brings a municipal bike by. (Getting all the bikes back around town that night won't be easy, though; officials say there may not be a place to park when you get home again, or a bike for your Tuesday morning commute.) +2

No Such Thing As A Free Ride: The next time you lose your D.C. driver's license, it'll cost a bit more to replace it. New DMV fees for four services took effect today, part of the city's effort to bring in more revenue in the fact of a budget crunch. Duplicate licenses will be $20, up from $7; road and knowledge tests, which used to be free, will cost $10; and commercial driver's licenses, which used to be $13, will cost $20. Cue AAA to decry the District's war on cars, no doubt. -1

Monumental Problem: Riding up to the top of the Washington Monument tends to be one of those things tourists do that locals never quite get around to, figuring they can go any time, so why wait in the line? Besides the line, there's now a new reason to stay away: You might get stuck. D.C. firefighters had to rescue 16 people trapped 490 feet above the ground Thursday night when an elevator stalled; they had to walk down from the top, adding insult to injury. Great way to start the nation's birthday celebration off, isn't it? -1

Yesterday's Needle rating: 43 Today's score: -2 Friday bonus: +2 Fourth of July bonus: +2 Today's Needle rating: 45

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  • Charles Queen

    How about all of the judges,D.A>'s,prosecuters,law enforcement,doctors,alwyer and the lsist go's ona dn on all of thse people use marijuana as a toll to relax after a hard day yet these same people who areusing it turnright arond and sentence peole to jail and or prison time fo doing nothing more than using it,this doesn't even count the growers and dealers but just plain ordinary folks that use it in the privacy of their homes.I find it so ironic that a cop, a judge a D.A. a prsocuter,use it ehmslves then turn right around and pass judgemtn and arrest people for doing the same exact things their doing theirselves.I for one for the life of me cannot figure out what type of a perosn it takes to do this stuff.ALl i can say to all of you wh use marijuana and want to see it legalized for adult and medicinal use nation wide is never quit and keep the fight going,every person that read what we print about the positive aspects of marijuana verses the negative ones of hich to be perfectly honest I have yet to really find anything negative pertaining to it's use.If we can get it across to even one more person than we are doing our jobs

  • malcolm kyle

    Some simple facts:

    * A rather large majority of people will always feel the need to use drugs, such as heroin, opium, nicotine, amphetamines, alcohol, sugar, or caffeine.

    * Due to Prohibition, the availability of mind-altering drugs has become so universal and unfettered, that in any city of the civilized world, any one of us would be able to procure practically any drug we wish within an hour.

    * The massive majority of people who use drugs do so recreationally - getting high at the weekend then up for work on a Monday morning.

    * A small minority of people will always experience drug use as problematic.

    * Throughout history, the prohibition of any mind-altering substance has always exploded usage rates, overcrowded jails, fueled organized crime, created rampant corruption of law-enforcement, even whole governments, and induced an incalculable amount of suffering and death.

    * It's not even possible to keep drugs out of prisons, but prohibitionists wish to waste hundreds of billions of our money in an utterly futile attempt to keep them off our streets.

    * Prohibition kills more people and ruins more lives than the prohibited drugs have ever done.

    * The United States jails a larger percentage of it's own citizens than any other country in the world, including those run by the worst totalitarian regimes.

    * The urge to save humanity is almost always a false-face for the urge to rule it.
    - H. L. Mencken (1880-1956) American editor, essayist and philologist.

    * In 'the land formally known as free', all citizens have been stripped of their 4th amendment rights and are now totally subordinate to a corporatized, despotic government with a heavily armed and corrupt, militarized police force whose often deadly intrusions into their homes and lives are condoned by an equally corrupt and spineless judiciary.

    * As with torture, prohibition is a grievous crime against humanity. If you support it, or even simply tolerate it by looking the other way while others commit it, you are an accessory to a very serious moral transgression against humanity.

    * America re-legalized certain drug use in 1933. The drug was alcohol, and the 21st amendment re-legalized its production, distribution and sale. Both alcohol consumption and violent crime dropped immediately as a result, and, very soon after, the American economy climbed out of that same prohibition engendered abyss into which it had previously been pushed.

  • OwieCowieZowiePlowie!

    Yo, war on cars, crap. But keep in mind that it's not like getting a driver's license is really an option. You need to have an ID card for pretty much everything and the license is the standard for that. Pretty recessive tax.